Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Feature Interview - The Power Of Film: Koneko Kitten

There's been a long gap between interviews, and I'm happy to share a brand spanking new one with you finally!! Was very pleased the day a friend of mine showed me Koneko Kitten on flickr, I saw straight away her use of film and got all happy knowing how perfect she would be to interview! So with out further ado, here is Koneko Kitten!

Self Portrait with Covered Hair Rollers, Inner Richmond, April 2013

1. Fill me in on your background, where are you from and how did you get in to photography?

I grew up in the San Fernando Valley, where the term “valley girl” originates from. The suburbs were pretty boring growing up, and my parents were pretty protective of me and didn’t let me go out very often. Photography was a way for me make myself feel less bored hanging around in my neighborhood, as well as documenting what I did when I actually was allowed to go outside. Plus social media was sort of on the rise as I was just getting interested in taking photos, so I think that played a part as well and is probably a big influence in the types of photographs I like to take. Myspace probably influenced my interest in self portraiture and livejournal probably influenced by interest in diaristic imagery. It’s hard to really pin point and know exactly how I first got into photography, but I will definitely say that boredom played a role in it.

Me in the Laundromat, Inner Richmond District, October 2012

2. Tell me about your boyfriend who seems to feature heavily in your work?

I love him very much and I enjoy and appreciate all of the things that we do together, no matter how mundane they may seem to other people. Everything we do together is really important to me and I want to remember and document each moment to have and remember.
Tim and Me in the Photobooth, Inner Richmond, February 2013
3. What is your favourite style of photography (Self portraiture? Fashion? Weddings? Documentary)?

I don’t think that I have a favorite type of photography, because I think all of them serve some purpose and I enjoy them on different levels for different reasons (plus, variety is the spice of life!). I tend to find myself more drawn to portraits and self portraits and really high resolution pictures of cheeseburgers.

Tim's Reflection, Scotts Valley, December 2012

4. What is your process when taking photo's, from getting ideas to editing?

There isn’t much conceptualization before I start photographing. My work is about my life and my relationships, so setting up shoots isn’t something that I do very often. The main bulk of what I photograph is just shot on the fly, but there are a few projects for the future that I have thought about that are going to be more deliberately set up and photographed. My work process is for the most part mostly photographing what I see around me or when I feel like taking a photograph, and then looking through the images later and thinking about why I am drawn to certain images.

Qing Sleeping, Inner Richmond District, October 2012

5. What are your tools of the trade?

Point and shoot cameras work best for the way that I photograph and for the reasons that I’m photographing. It’s most important for my cameras to be quick and easy and for the act of photographing to take the least amount of time so that I can get the photograph that I want before my subject gets anxious about the camera. I’m somewhat of a camera hoarder though, and I like playing with a variety of different cameras. I love the quickness and ease of point and shoot cameras, the quality of medium format, and the playfulness of instant cameras. I shoot for a lot of reasons and I think each camera I have is satisfying each of my different desires.

Tim in his bed, Santa Cruz, CA, May 2012

6. Why do you seem to favour film cameras? And which of your film cameras is your favourite?

My interest in film definitely stems from romanticizing it, which is something that I don’t want to deny. My first camera was a low quality digital camera, and for the first few years of my interest in photography, I was using only digital because my parents thought that film was a waste of money (and many would agree). I think that since film was this thing that my parents were vehemently against (I remember when I got a holga for my 18th birthday from a friend, my dad told me he was “110% against” my using it), I romanticized it even more. On top of that, everybody was getting DSLRs and the quality of the images were so perfect and smoothed out, and film felt flawed and more sincere. However, after using film and digital both for a while now, film definitely has a special aesthetic quality that you don’t really get with digital. Maybe I am just still romanticizing film.

Amanda Shading Her Eyes, Summer 2011

7. Why do you think people are drawn to photography?

I think we like to document what we see and how we see the world. Maybe it’s because we want to tell people our perspective of things? But really, I don’t know why people are drawn to photography. Everybody is different and the reasons why I want to take pictures is certainly going to be different from the reasons that somebody else has.

Self Portrait at Elizabeth's, December 2011

8. Do you think you have an original style that is you own?

I don’t think that I have an original style that is my own. I think that I look up to photographers like Nan Goldin too much that to some degree I am maybe emulating her style and aesthetics a lot. I do, however, think that my point of view is my own. Maybe as I continue shooting and honing my skills, I’ll eventually develop my own unique style. That would be pretty cool.


9. Tell us the reason behind the nudity? Some would say sharing too much, some would say honest art...what do you think?

There isn’t any specific reason for the prevalence of nudity in my imagery, at least no reasons that I am consciously aware of. I take a lot of photographs when I’m at home or while at the homes of my friends, and since we’re in spaces that we are comfortable in and with people we are comfortable with, we allow ourselves to be in the state we are most comfortable in. For some of my friends that means not wearing clothing, for some of my friends that means wearing messy pajamas. A lot of my photographs focus on myself and my partner, and we don’t often spend a lot of time cuddling wearing clothing. I think it depends on what images of mine I’m classifying as my work. If we are including any of the nude photobooth images, the reasoning for the nudity in those images is mostly “LOL BOOBS!” I think at this point, the nude photobooth strips are more of a tradition now more than anything else. There are a few friends of mine who vehemently insist that the nudity in my images is deliberate, and I’m certain that it is, but currently, I’m not fully aware of why just yet. I guess I’m mostly interested in intimate images, and the fact that my friends are comfortable being around me naked all the time and allow me to take images of them while they are naked is an indicator of how intimate our friendships are, which could be one explanation.

The Bedroom Series

10. What are some of your favourite films, books and musicians?

I recently watched In The Realm Of The Senses and read Norwegian Wood, and both of those were pretty good. I’m not sure if they are my favorites, but they are what are sticking out most in my mind since they are the most recent. To be quite honest, my favorite movies are romantic comedies from the late 90s and early 2000s like 10 Things I Hate About You, Clueless, and Josie and the Pussycats. I also loved Old Boy, Anti Christ, and Blade Runner. My all time favorite musical artist is Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. I also love Bibio. It’s hard to pick my favorite films, books, and musicians, because my tastes are all over the place. I like almost everything, even the “bad” things.



11. What has been your biggest achievement so far with your photography?

Having amassed a collection of images from the last 11 years and having a record of so many different moments and memories.

Yellow, Santa Cruz, CA, May 2012
St Francis Fountain, Mission, April 2013

12. Which photographer do you think I should interview next and why?

Noorann Matties. I think her work is sincere and genuine.

13. What is your favourite photo taken by another photographer?

Favorite photo is so so so hard to pick because there are so many images that are out of this world. I love these images by Nobuyoshi Araki (www.premiermodelstyle.com/premier-blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/wife-yoko-dead.png and loueveritt.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/002-nobuyoshi-araki-sentimental-journey-1971.jpg) from his book Sentimental Journey/Winter Journey (www.youtube.com/watch?v=_K1e60eSUBM) which is such a heart breakingly beautiful monograph.

14. What is your favourite photo you have taken?

Hugging Tim's Legs, Santa Cruz, CA, May 2012

...perhaps my favorite picture of my own because it is indicative of a lot of my favorite memories.

15. If you could photograph any person alive or dead who would it be and why?

After watching In The Realm Of The Senses and reading about her, I would probably most want to photograph Sada Abe.

Fence, Inner Richmond, April 2013

16. Give us the skinny, what's the next project you've got coming up?

I’m working on a project about Asian women as well as more work with Tim!

Untitled, September 2011

17. Which actor would play you in the film of your life?

Ellen Wong


18. What did you want to grow up to be when you were a kid?

When I was in elementary school I really wanted to be choreographer because I was on this competitive group dance team called the Pantherettes, which was a lot like Sparkle Motion, which I doubt your commitment to ;D


See LOADS more of Koneko Kittens work on her Flickr HERE!


  1. As always, an incredible inspiring interview.. Thank you for bringing so much inspiration to my life :)